FCC approves latecomer Microsoft as white-space database provider

The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has named Microsoft as an administrator of the TV white spaces database, despite the company filing late and others opposing its designation.

Microsoft is now required to develop and operate a TV bands database in its geographic area that will locate the unused slivers of broadcast spectrum. Microsoft is now the 10th company the FCC has designated as a white space database provider.

Microsoft requested to become a database provider 15 months after the OET's stated deadline. Nine companies were given the okay to provide databases back on Jan. 26--Comsearch, Frequency Finder, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), KB Enterprises, LS Telecom, Key Bridge Global, Neustar, Spectrum Bridge, Telcordia and WSdb.

Databases are necessary to determine what white-space channels to use since the spectrum consists of slivers of 700 MHz channels freed by the transition of TV channels from analog to digital. Using geolocation, the databases should detect interference with TV broadcasts and other signals and allow white-space devices to jump to free spectrum.

The Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum (EIBASS) has opposed Microsoft's designation for a few reasons: It filed late, it omitted an entire category of licensed stations operating on the UHF channels from its database. The OET said that none of the reasons were enough to reject Microsoft's proposal.

"Based upon our review of its proposal and the record before us, we are designating Microsoft Corporation as a TV bands database administrator..." OET chief Julius P. Knapp wrote. "We find that Microsoft has shown that it has the technical expertise to develop and operate a TV bands database."

Microsoft must now pass an FCC evaluation of its capability as a TV bands database administrator that lasts no less than 45 days before it is allowed to make its database available for use.

For more:
- see this Telecompetitor article

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